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PhD Position in Sociology:

PhD Position in Sociology:

 Agricultural practices and the regulatory environment that governs antimicrobial use in Ireland

Post Title:

PhD Researcher in Sociology

Post Status:

48 months, Full-time

Starting Date:

September 2022


Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy and School of Natural Sciences

Reports to:

Dr Elaine Moriarty; Prof Trevor Hodkinson


Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)


Full PhD fees over 4 years (EU); stipend ca. €18,000 per annum for 4 years; annual research allowance

Closing Date:

30 June 2022

PhD Position:

The School of Social Sciences and Philosophy and the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) seeks to appoint an outstanding and highly motivated PhD candidate with excellent qualifications for a period of 4 full years (48 months). The successful candidate will conduct an innovative PhD project that evaluates agricultural practices and the regulatory environment that governs antimicrobial use in Ireland.

The PhD candidate will be integrated into a dynamic group of PhD candidates within the research project RESIST-AMR Antimicrobial Resistance: Engineering Natural, One-Health, Systems Thinking Solutions to a Manmade Global Disaster which is funded by the Prendergast Challenge Awards, a prestigious award from Trinity College Dublin. Antimicrobials are critical resources for human, animal and plant health. With the emergence of antimicrobial resistance and the lack of new antimicrobials, we face an unprecedented global environmental, food security and human health threat. RESIST-AMR is a structured PhD training programme which umbrellas the Schools of Natural Sciences, Genetics and Microbiology, Medicine, Engineering, Social Science and Philosophy and Computer Science and Statistics and external collaborators Teagasc agriculture and food development authority. Applying a multi-disciplinary approach, RESIST PhD candidates will perform critical analysis of environmental and human ‘resistomes’ from agricultural settings and analyse agricultural stakeholders’ practices and policies to identify institutional reform implications.

This PhD project will evaluate the agricultural practices and the regulatory environment that governs antimicrobial use in Ireland. There is a gap in knowledge regarding decision making on farms around antimicrobial usage.  The core of the research approach involves a whole population survey on the social and economic factors (e.g. gender, age, education) that influence the motivations and attitudes of farmers in Ireland towards the use of anti-microbials on their farms. An analysis of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) will be undertaken, particularly focusing on those with farming backgrounds. A qualitative panel study will track decision making and the kind of change farmers are willing to make on a range of farm types over 2 years. To understand the policy implications, interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders who supply anti-microbials to farmers and the regulatory environment that governs antimicrobial use in Ireland (including vets, agri-business, governmental departments, farming bodies). In doing so, this project will reveal the micro level processes involved in agricultural practices regarding AMR use on Irish farms, the macro level regulatory environment that governs access to AMR and identify multi-perspective institutional reform implications.

The candidate will receive advanced training in the methodology of the social sciences including statistical analysis and qualitative longitudinal data analysis along with project management, communication skills and approaches to the dissemination of research findings.

Candidates with a strong interest in environmental studies, rural studies, agricultural studies, life-course research, qualitative longitudinal research, an MA, MSc or MPhil in Sociology, Social Research, Social Policy, and strong training in advanced social science methodologies, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Standard duties of the post

  • Critical, systematic and analytical review of relevant literature the project.
  • Conducting empirical research using statistical analysis and a qualitative panel study.
  • Writing academic pieces (articles/dissertation chapters) in English.
  • Writing and submitting research papers for publication and contributing to joint projects or related submissions with the PhD supervisor (s).
  • Organising and attending meetings, workshops and conferences.
  • Disseminating academic work to specialised and general audiences.
  • 4 hours of teaching per week during the statutory teaching term (facilitating undergraduate tutorials).

Person Specification


  • MA, MSc or MPhil in Sociology, Social Policy, Geography, Agricultural Studies, Rural studies, Environmental studies or cognate fields (thesis should be either defended or submitted).

Essential research skills

  • An analytical, independent and systematic approach to research.
  • Ability to adopt an interdisciplinary approach.
  • High-level training in advanced social science methodologies.
  • Familiarity with diverse data collection techniques (e.g., interviewing; questionnaire design).
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills using English language.
  • Good organisational skills and ability to engage in team work.

Other essential skills

  • Engage in public dissemination of the project results.
  • Motivation to publish in high-impact scientific journals.
  • Willingness to contribute to the development of the project.
  • Contributing to the intellectual and academic community of TCD.
  • Contribute to the teaching programme of Sociology TCD.


The Department of Sociology
Sociology is a member of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, one of 24 Schools within Trinity College. The Department’s principal research clusters are: Employment, education and stratification; Migration, integration and identities; Power, conflict and resistance; Social network analysis and digitalisation. The Department has a great variety of international sociologists with a high profile, becoming increasingly international, and combining the use of advanced quantitative methods applied to real-world data with the use of sophisticated and diverse qualitative methodologies. Our research links to several College priority research themes: International Integration centred within Trinity Research in the Social Sciences (TRISS), Identities in Transformation within the Trinity Long Room Hub (TLRH) and Inclusive Society. The department has a long-standing collaboration with one of Ireland’s premier research institutes, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Members of the Department have successfully obtained NORFACE, IRC, H2020 funding.
The Department has an active postgraduate programme. It is home to an MSc in Comparative Social Change, delivered jointly with University College Dublin, as well as an MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict. It has a structured PhD programme combining advanced methodological training with transferrable skills workshops. There are over 20 PhD students and our doctoral graduates have positions in academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Further information on the Department of Sociology is available at

School of Social Sciences and Philosophy
The School of Social Sciences and Philosophy was formed in 2005 and comprises the Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology, together with the Policy Institute. With over 45 full time academic staff, the School has an international reputation in research and is committed to the dissemination of its knowledge and expertise to the benefit of the wider community, with the Policy Institute providing an important channel for policy analysis and evaluation. The School is home to the unique undergraduate degree in PPES (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology). It also contributes to undergraduate degrees in Economics and Social studies (BESS), and a range of Joint Honours Programmes. Over 100 graduate students are conducting research across the four disciplines.

Further information on the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy is available at

The School of Natural Sciences
The School of Natural Sciences conducts research, and delivers teaching, on all aspects of the natural world, from the formation of the earth, the behaviour of the environment, the evolution and ecology of its organisms and its interactions with human society. We are engaged with solving some of the major challenges facing human society through our teaching, research and partnership with industry and policy development both nationally and globally. The School comprises of the Disciplines of Botany, Geography, Geology and Zoology and two research centres. We currently accommodate ca. 40 academic staff, 25 support staff, 20 postdoctoral research fellows and over 100 graduate research students. We have an annual research income in excess of €4 million and produce an average of 150 publications per year. The School also delivers eight undergraduate and three taught masters degree programmes.

Further information on the School of Natural Sciences can be found at

Trinity College Dublin
Founded in 1592, Trinity College is at the nexus of tradition and innovation, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across 24 schools and three faculties: arts, humanities and social sciences; science, technology, engineering and maths; and health sciences. Spread across 47 acres in Dublin’s city centre, Trinity’s 17,000 strong student body comes from all 32 counties of Ireland, and 16% of students come from outside of the country. Of those, 40% are from outside the European Union, making Trinity’s campus cosmopolitan and bustling, with a focus on diversity.
As Ireland’s leading university, the pursuit of academic excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of the Trinity education. Trinity is known for intellectual rigour, excellence, interdisciplinary approach and research-led teaching. Home to Nobel prize winners across the world to its historic campus each year, including to the Book of Kells and Science Gallery which capture the university’s connection to both old and new. Trinity accounts for one-fifth of all spin out companies from Irish higher education institutions, helping to turn Ireland into an innovative intensive, high productivity economy. That culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is a defining characteristic of our campus as we help shape the next generation of job creators.

Further information on Trinity College is available at

Equal Opportunities Policy
Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to the employment policies, procedures and practices which do not discriminate on grounds such as gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or membership of the Travelling community.


Application Procedure

Application deadline: 30 June 2022

Informal enquiries: contact Dr Elaine Moriarty (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, TCD;

Candidates should submit the following documentation via email to Dr Elaine Moriarty ( and cc. Professor Trevor Hodkinson (

  1. A motivation letter clearly indicating how the applicant’s profile and skills fit the requirements of this PhD position (max. 2 pages);
  2. A full curriculum vitae;
  3. Names, affiliation, and contact details of 2 referees (with their email addresses included);
  4. One example (at least) of a written piece –expected in English– showing the analytical, writing, and empirical skills of the candidate in a social science discipline.